Gratitude is a funny, complicated, and sometimes difficult thing.
Thanksgiving can be a challenge for many reasons (not least of which the fact that the story many of us are told about the holiday — that it’s to honor the native peoples of the Americas, who kept the pilgrims/first colonizers from starving to death after settling here — wildly sanitizes and white-washes the true history of European peoples on this continent).
We are told this is a day to be with family– the message is everywhere around us, on television, on social media. But what happens when time with family is toxic for us, or harmful, or just leaves us feeling depressed and sad?
Good morning, beautiful writers. The sun has just crept itself up over the Oakland hills, and is spilling bold and bright right into my eyes. How is this Monday greeting you?
So, this is Thanksgiving week here in the US. This Thursday is Thanksgiving, that celebration of consumption, that re-memorying of our national origins. Many of us will be with family, and it will be a struggle. Many of us will not be with family, and that will also be a struggle. Many of us will want more connection, more intimacy, more honesty. Some of us will be right where we want to be. And many of us will, in spite of this national holiday’s ostensible and onerous origins, use this time for reflection and gratitude practice.
There have been years when I raged at anyone who asked me to be grateful, who invited me to remember that in spite of my oppression, I had plenty to be thankful for. Fuck you, I thought. I spent ten years having to lie beneath the hands and body of a man who threatened to kill everyone I loved if I didn’t do what he wanted, a man who brainwashed my whole family, and stole from me both my adolescence and my sexuality. Don’t tell me to be thankful. I am not grateful. I resisted the relentlessly cheerful aspect of survivor culture that wanted me to only focus on the positive. When I heard leaders in the movement telling me that I had to couch all my thoughts in positive terms lest I draw negativity to myself, I simply heard them engaging in victim-blaming; I also heard the sort of brainwashing language that my stepfather used, claiming even my thoughts, and the structure of my thoughts, as his own to manipulate.
Please help to spread the word! xoxoxo
Writing Ourselves Whole presents
~Holiday Dirt: fecund new erotica~
a benefit reading and celebration!
With special guest Carol Queen!
Featuring Alex Cafarelli, Lou Vaile, Amy Butcher, Renee Garcia, Jenn Meissonnier, Blyth Barnow and Jess Katz!
Burlesque! Sweet treats! Chapbooks!
This morning I’m grateful for the rain-scented just-washed streets of early downtown San Francisco; the quiet resonance in my office after two nights in a row of deep, engaged, risky writing; the view of both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate bridge from the BART windows as we approached West Oakland station; the little girl giggling uncontrollably in a packed BART car while she played make-believe hide and seek with her daddy, bringing giggles up to my lips and the lips of other passengers as well, breaking down through some of those early morning pre-caffeinated heading-to-a-day-job-blues sorts of walls…